Bankruptcy is one area of practice that has grown significantly over the last few years. Due to the struggling economy, more and more consumers are turning to bankruptcy for a fresh start. In addition to consumers, an equal amount of creditors need representation in bankruptcy court to ensure they are paid anything from consumers who have filed bankruptcy. This article will address special training required of bankruptcy attorneys, services provided by lawyers in the field of bankruptcy and associations and organizations for bankruptcy attorneys.
Special Training Required
Bankruptcy attorneys must meet additional requirements other attorneys do not have to meet. Bankruptcy attorneys must be admitted to practice in their local federal district as well as the state in which they practice. Admission to practice before the federal bankruptcy court is an additional requirement for bankruptcy attorneys. Many bankruptcy courts require attorneys to take a class or several classes in representing creditors or consumers and how to properly file documents, communicate with bankruptcy court officials and set matters for hearings.
Bankruptcy attorneys come in two varieties: those that represent creditors and those who represent consumers. Most bankruptcy attorneys advise clients on consumer rights issues and whether bankruptcy is a good option for their particular situation and help clients file for bankruptcy if the client decides to file. Some bankruptcy attorneys represent companies or creditors in obtaining payment from consumers who have filed bankruptcy, who often use collection agencies.
Attorneys who represent consumers in bankruptcy can advise clients on whether bankruptcy is a good option for their needs, how and when to file bankruptcy and how to recover after bankruptcy. Services will include looking into alternatives for relief from debt, financial services and creating a budget to live by after bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is based on complex federal rules. Consumers are wise to consult a qualified bankruptcy attorney to help them successfully navigate these rules to ensure their desired outcome.
Attorneys who represent creditors in bankruptcy work to ensure that their clients are paid fairly and in accordance with the bankruptcy rules. This may include filing proof of a claim to monies owed, filing a lawsuit in the bankruptcy court, called an "adversary action," and monitoring payments from the bankruptcy trustee for adequacy. Many rules apply to bankruptcy proceedings and creditors must follow all of these rules to ensure fair treatment and payment by the bankruptcy estate.
Associations and Organizations
Attorneys who practice bankruptcy law will find networking opportunities and educational resources in associations and organizations catering to bankruptcy law as it is practiced in the local federal judicial districts. Bankruptcy is based in federal law, although state laws and differences between federal judicial decisions may influence how the law is applied in a particular case. Nationally, the Federal Bar Association has a section devoted to practitioners of bankruptcy law: the Bankruptcy Law Section of the Federal Bar Association. Many federal judicial districts also have bankruptcy bar associations that expand beyond areas that would normally be covered by a local bar association. State and local bar associations also frequently have sections devoted the bankruptcy law practitioners.
As consumers continue to look to the bankruptcy code for relief, the demand for attorneys knowledgeable about bankruptcy will remain. Consumers and creditors alike require competent legal advice to represent their rights in bankruptcy court. Attorneys who may be considering expanding their practices to include bankruptcy and consumers who need bankruptcy advice would be wise to discuss their options with experienced bankruptcy practitioners.